New Firefighting Helicopter Technology Tested in California

A firefighting helicopter makes a drop on August 18, 2016 near Wrightwood, California.  (David McNew/Getty Images)

Southern California agencies are field-testing equipment intended to enable helicopters to more quickly fill with water while battling wildfires.

Anaheim Fire & Rescue, the Orange County Fire Authority and OC Parks demonstrated the Remotely Activated Snorkel Site technology on Monday.

Snorkels are hoses that allow hovering helicopters to suck loads of water out of natural and man-made sources.

The experimental system involves strategically placing portable open-top tanks or permanent basins in the environment and connecting them to municipal water sources.

A helicopter pilot uses a radio signal to activate valves and fill a basin near a fire, reducing the need for ground crews and cutting the time spent flying to load up with more water.

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